The Dalmatian Club of America

CERF Exam vs. Bitches' Status - April 13, 2003


By Claudia M.Rusconi, Marie Zimmerman, P.Karen McDonnell

Dr. Sheryl Krohne, (DVM, MS, DACVO, Ophthalmology Section Head School of Veterinary Medicine, Purdue University; Liaison for CERF*), has recently been consulted about the existence of any formal protocol regarding performance of the CERF exam on bitches who are in season, pregnant, or lactating, brought about by conflicting opinions regarding this subject.

Her reply can be summarized as follows:

  1. There is no interference from being in season, pregnant, or lactating to the eye exam.

  2. There are no abnormalities seen that go away when the bitch goes out of season, stops lactating or isn't pregnant or vice-versa.

  3. Bitches´ status in no way affects the eye exam. CERF exam or the dilating drops have no adverse effect at all on pregnant bitches**

  4. CERF Clinics should have no objections in performing the eye tests to dogs in heat. ***

  5. CERF exams can be first performed at 6-8 weeks of age. Testing pups younger than this might difficult due to small eye size.

  6. The 6-8 week CERF exam is a valid CERF test and thus can be registered.

  7. CERF exams should be done every year after the first one performed at the 6-8 weeks of age.

  8. The current CERF protocol is based on several facts that can be found in the CERF website at

*CERF: Canine Eye Registration Foundation

Our Eye Study Group additional tips:
** Use of occasional dilating drops during pregnancy for the purposes of ocular examination is safe. Nevertheless repeated use of mydriatics is contraindicated. The same runs in case of lactating bitches.

*** This holds true as regards CERF Eye Clinic formal protocols. We anyway suggest getting acquainted with each particular Eye Clinic's policy regarding dogs in heat in advance.

    Eye Study Group members:

    Director TBD

    Patricia Karen McDonnell, Eye Database Manager

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